I have an estimated 15 year old Russian tortoise who I've had for 5 years. I typically leave his lights off throughout fall. This year he's gone through winter, too. Should I be doing this or is it healthier to keep his lights on year round and feed him every day?

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    I cannot give you a definite answer, but for the most common pet tortoises like Red Eared Slider it's adviced to let them hibernate in a cold and dark place like the fridge. Lights alone don't start or end hibernation, the temperature is crucial. If you keep your tortoise too warm without foot it will starve.
    – Elmy
    Commented Mar 6, 2021 at 21:14
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    @Elmy RES turtle live in the water, while tortoises are living most times at land. Because of this I am carfull with conclusions from one to the other. In general the animal needs to have enough weight before starting the hibernation (look for weight-tables for the single species). And it should have visited a vet before to exclude health issues during hibernation. Commented Mar 7, 2021 at 13:37

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I would say dont wake him up. If you want to give him food, then stick it in the hole/next to his shell and he will eat when he wants to. However waking him up may scare him or make him mentally ill.

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    Because, If you wake him up suddently, he might go into shock. "To wake your tortoise up you should place your tortoise in a warm room for a few hours. And gradually it will start to wake up. After emerging from hibernation, your tortoise will be dehydrated, so it is very important to provide your tortoise with a shallow bath each day at this stage." According to exoticdirect.co.uk/news/how-care-tortoise-after-hibernation Commented Apr 16, 2021 at 12:53
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    Yes, thanks for that source, but that still doesn't explain a turtle suddenly becoming mentally ill. Commented Apr 16, 2021 at 14:25
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    Going into shock can be considered mentally ill in a way Commented Apr 16, 2021 at 16:03
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    Kind of. Not 100%, but I see your reasoning. Commented Apr 16, 2021 at 16:06
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    Thank you my good sir. Commented Apr 16, 2021 at 16:12

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